Man held on charges of impregnating 16-year-old daughter in north Bengal

Police said the accused’s wife lived in Delhi, and he took advantage of her absence to sexually exploit their daughter.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2018 11:28 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times, Siliguri
Rape,Sexual assault,Father
Students at a rally held to protest the rising number of sexual assaults across the country recently. (REUTERS File)

A man has been arrested from Jaigaon village in West Bengal’s Alipurduar district on charges of impregnating his 16-year-old daughter, police said on Friday.

The wife of the accused, a 37-year-old migrant labourer from Bhutan, had lodged a complaint against him on July 15. He was arrested three days later near the state border with Bhutan.

Police said the accused, a father of three, had been absconding ever since the matter came to light about a month ago. “The girl has been sent to a government home in Cooch Behar. She is expected to deliver the baby on October 5,” said additional superintendent of police Ganesh Biswas. “The accused, for his part, has been booked under Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. A court has sent him to prison.”

Biswas said the accused’s wife lived in Delhi, and he took advantage of her absence to sexually exploit their daughter. The authorities are yet to decide what to do with the infant after it is born, a member of the Child Welfare Committee said on the condition of anonymity.

“About eight months ago, the accused’s wife left for Delhi to work as a domestic help. She used to send back money to her husband,” said Abhijit Sarkar, secretary of the Alipurduar Manabik Mukh, the NGO that had brought the accused’s mother back to the village to lodge a complaint.

The pregnancy came to light about a month ago, when the girl visited a health centre to seek treatment for nausea and related symptoms. After word of the alleged rape spread, villagers ransacked their house. Following this, the accused allegedly fled to Bhutan along with his five-year-old daughter while his son took shelter at a relative’s place about 20 km away. He returned to India a few days later.

“The complaint was lodged only after volunteers of the Alipurduar Manabik Mukh brought the mother from Delhi and convinced her about the need for police action against her husband,” said Raju Nepali, founder of the Dooars Express Mail, an organisation that works to curb human trafficking and crimes against women.

The woman wants to return to the national capital, so she can resume earning for her family.

First Published: Jul 20, 2018 11:28 IST